17 March 2015

Local control over planning moves a step closer

The Planning Inspector has told Brighton & Hove City Council that she does not think further hearings on the proposed City Plan will be necessary which means it can progress to the next stage.

In order to meet the Inspector’s concerns of providing for the city’s pressing housing need, councillors agreed last year to increase the housing target from 11,200 to 13,200 and open up the potential for limited housing development on a small part of the urban fringe. Other modifications related to the Brighton Marina and sustainable buildings policies.

Publication of the consultation on these proposed changes took place last autumn and most of the 187 respondents raised concerns about housing numbers and development of the urban fringe, as well as proposed changes to the Toads Hole Valley policy.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, chair of the city’s planning committee, said:

“We’ve made a small but significant step in the right direction towards getting our local plan adopted which is vital to ensure local control over where development goes.

“The City Plan provides the template for the future development of our city and is essential for delivering the homes and jobs we need. We must remember that if we don’t have an agreed City Plan we will effectively lose control of where new developments would go and the whole of the urban fringe could be at risk of development.”

"We are not over all of the hurdles but the finish line is in sight. For the first time in years we will have the strong advantage of an adopted plan. More than 3 in 5 councils across the country don't have a plan so this will ensure we can push for the strongest future for our city."

The Planning Inspector has considered all the comments that were made and will shortly invite written statements from relevant respondents on ‘matters and issues’ raised through the consultation on the proposed modifications. The list of ‘matters and issues’ is due to be published on 13 April.

Following on from this, the Inspector has indicated that the council can expect a draft of her final report in September/October for ‘fact checking’.

More details are on the council’s website at: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/city-plan. Or see copies in the customer service centres and libraries.

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Note to editors: 

A summary of the consultation responses and the detailed representations are available online here: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/planning/local-development-framework/city-plan-consultation  There are also copies at customer service centres and libraries.

Every local authority has to demonstrate how it is going to meet future housing needs to 2030 in order to have its local planning policies agreed by the government.

The Planning Inspector is appointed by the government to make sure the city is doing everything possible to meet the city’s future housing needs. She considered that the council should make a more rigorous assessment of housing potential from the urban fringe (the open space between the built up area boundary and the National Park).

Without this work she would not be able to make changes to the City Plan and find it ‘sound’.

Including the urban fringe as a potential for new housing does not mean that sites will automatically be allocated for development. Every site identified as having potential would be subject to further investigation under Part 2 of the City Plan with full public consultation.

The general expectation of the Planning Inspectorate is that issues raised on the consultation of the draft proposed modifications will be considered through the written representations process and further hearing sessions will only be scheduled exceptionally.

The fact check report is not the final report and is not for publication but provides council officers with a two-week period to check for factual and typographical errors before the Inspector issues her final report.

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